A group of about 25 individuals held their heads down in silence to take a single picture on the Compton Union Building steps Tuesday night.
The picture stood for a unity against hate crimes, including the recent killings of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida and Shaima Al-Awadi in San Diego, California, said sophomore bioengineering major Abdelrhman Mohamed.
In the picture, men wore hoodies to resemble Martin and women wore head scarves to resemble Al-Awadi. The event was put on by Mohamed.
To bring the event to the attention of students, Mohamed made a Facebook event, created flyers to pass out to people and spoke with multiple student organizations including the Black Student Union and the Muslim Student Association at WSU.
“We have to start a conversation and draw attention to these hate crimes,” Mohamed said.
Before the picture was taken, Mohamed and other participants asked other people on the Glenn Terrell Mall to participate. He said it is important for people to understand these racial stereotypes and know that they are not just limited to blacks and Muslims.
“You never know who is next,” Mohamed said. “A hate crime is a hate crime.”
For Mohamed, the inspiration for creating the event was seeing freshman music major Jordan Moore hold up his protest sign outside of the CUB earlier in the week. Moore, who participated in the event, said he decided to protest the crimes because nobody has done anything yet.
“If stuff like this goes on, it won’t be easy for people to go to school,” Moore said.
Moore made his sign in 15 minutes and rushed it so he could get to class on time. Earlier in the week, he was kicked out of the CUB when he brought his sign into the building.
“I didn’t want a confrontation, I’d rather have my voice be heard,” Moore said.
He said he will protest the killings as long as he can and has considered protesting in front of the Pullman Wal-Mart. He hopes the event can end racially biased views.
“We need to be more sensitive to human life and see what is on the inside, rather than the outside,” Moore said.
Senior political science major Derrick Skaug participated in the event because the killings deeply affected him. He said we have to address these problems and we cannot close our eyes on these issues.
“What happened was unacceptable and we need to work towards correcting it,” Skaug said.
In the future, Mohamed said he is unsure if he will put on another event to raise awareness of the killings.
“People have to think about these things and it shows we care,” Mohamed said.